Category: misc.

Sometimes puns are irresistible.

Sometimes puns are irresistible.

My husband’s pal Ian started a fun game on Twitter. I joined in. Hilarity ensued, at least as far as the three of us were concerned. I thought you might also find it amusing.

And then we all went to bed, I guess.

Epic spam comment template (?)

Epic spam comment template (?)

I just got this as a single spam comment on one of my less-used sites. My jaw kinda dropped. I thought someone out there might find it as interesting, disturbing, amusing, and/or useful—perhaps if you develop anti-spam products, you’ve just been handed a useful template to add to your filtering system. Anyway, enjoy! <3 VA

 

{
{I have|I’ve} been {surfing|browsing} online more
than {three|3|2|4} hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours.
{It’s|It is} pretty worth enough for me. {In my opinion|Personally|In my view},
all {webmasters|site owners|website owners|web owners} and bloggers made good content as you did, the
{internet|net|web} will be {much more|a lot more} useful than ever before.|
I {couldn’t|could not} {resist|refrain from} commenting.
{Very well|Perfectly|Well|Exceptionally well} written!|
{I will|I’ll} {right away|immediately} {take hold of|grab|clutch|grasp|seize|snatch} your {rss|rss feed}
as I {can not|can’t} {in finding|find|to find} your {email|e-mail} subscription {link|hyperlink} or
{newsletter|e-newsletter} service. Do {you have|you’ve} any?
{Please|Kindly} {allow|permit|let} me {realize|recognize|understand|recognise|know} {so that|in
order that} I {may just|may|could} subscribe. Thanks.|
{It is|It’s} {appropriate|perfect|the best} time to make some plans for
the future and {it is|it’s} time to be happy. {I have|I’ve}
read this post and if I could I {want to|wish to|desire to} suggest you {few|some}
interesting things or {advice|suggestions|tips}.
{Perhaps|Maybe} you {could|can} write next articles referring to this article.

I {want to|wish to|desire to} read {more|even more}
things about it!|
{It is|It’s} {appropriate|perfect|the best} time to make {a
few|some} plans for {the future|the longer term|the long run} and {it is|it’s} time
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{interesting|fascinating|attention-grabbing} {things|issues} or {advice|suggestions|tips}.
{Perhaps|Maybe} you {could|can} write {next|subsequent} articles {relating to|referring
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{I have|I’ve} been {surfing|browsing} {online|on-line} {more than|greater than} {three|3} hours
{these days|nowadays|today|lately|as of late}, {yet|but}
I {never|by no means} {found|discovered} any {interesting|fascinating|attention-grabbing} article like yours.

{It’s|It is} {lovely|pretty|beautiful} {worth|value|price} {enough|sufficient} for me.

{In my opinion|Personally|In my view}, if all {webmasters|site owners|website owners|web owners} and bloggers made {just right|good|excellent} {content|content material} as {you did|you probably did}, the {internet|net|web} {will be|shall be|might be|will probably
be|can be|will likely be} {much more|a lot more} {useful|helpful} than ever before.|
Ahaa, its {nice|pleasant|good|fastidious} {discussion|conversation|dialogue} {regarding|concerning|about|on the topic of} this {article|post|piece
of writing|paragraph} {here|at this place} at this {blog|weblog|webpage|website|web site}, I have read all that, so
{now|at this time} me also commenting {here|at this place}.|
I am sure this {article|post|piece of writing|paragraph} has touched all the internet {users|people|viewers|visitors}, its really really {nice|pleasant|good|fastidious} {article|post|piece of writing|paragraph} on building up new {blog|weblog|webpage|website|web site}.|
Wow, this {article|post|piece of writing|paragraph}
is {nice|pleasant|good|fastidious}, my {sister|younger sister} is analyzing {such|these|these kinds of} things, {so|thus|therefore} I am going to {tell|inform|let
know|convey} her.|
{Saved as a favorite|bookmarked!!}, {I really like|I like|I
love} {your blog|your site|your web site|your website}!|
Way cool! Some {very|extremely} valid points!
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Hi, {I do believe|I do think} {this is an excellent|this is
a great} {blog|website|web site|site}. I stumbledupon it ;) {I will|I am going to|I’m going to|I may} {come back|return|revisit} {once again|yet again} {since I|since i
have} {bookmarked|book marked|book-marked|saved as a favorite} it.
Money and freedom {is the best|is the greatest} way to change,
may you be rich and continue to {help|guide} {other people|others}.|
Woah! I’m really {loving|enjoying|digging} the template/theme of this {site|website|blog}.
It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s {very
hard|very difficult|challenging|tough|difficult|hard} to get that “perfect balance”
between {superb usability|user friendliness|usability} and {visual appearance|visual appeal|appearance}.
I must say {that you’ve|you have|you’ve} done a {awesome|amazing|very good|superb|fantastic|excellent|great}
job with this. {In addition|Additionally|Also}, the
blog loads {very|extremely|super} {fast|quick} for me on
{Safari|Internet explorer|Chrome|Opera|Firefox}.
{Superb|Exceptional|Outstanding|Excellent} Blog!|
These are {really|actually|in fact|truly|genuinely}
{great|enormous|impressive|wonderful|fantastic} ideas in {regarding|concerning|about|on the topic of} blogging.
You have touched some {nice|pleasant|good|fastidious} {points|factors|things} here.
Any way keep up wrinting.|
{I love|I really like|I enjoy|I like|Everyone loves} what
you guys {are|are usually|tend to be} up too. {This sort
of|This type of|Such|This kind of} clever work and {exposure|coverage|reporting}!

Keep up the {superb|terrific|very good|great|good|awesome|fantastic|excellent|amazing|wonderful} works guys I’ve {incorporated||added|included} you guys to {|my|our||my personal|my
own} blogroll.|
{Howdy|Hi there|Hey there|Hi|Hello|Hey}! Someone in my {Myspace|Facebook} group shared this {site|website}
with us so I came to {give it a look|look it over|take a
look|check it out}. I’m definitely {enjoying|loving} the information.
I’m {book-marking|bookmarking} and will be tweeting this to my followers!
{Terrific|Wonderful|Great|Fantastic|Outstanding|Exceptional|Superb|Excellent} blog and {wonderful|terrific|brilliant|amazing|great|excellent|fantastic|outstanding|superb} {style and design|design and style|design}.|
{I love|I really like|I enjoy|I like|Everyone loves} what you
guys {are|are usually|tend to be} up too. {This sort
of|This type of|Such|This kind of} clever work and {exposure|coverage|reporting}!
Keep up the {superb|terrific|very good|great|good|awesome|fantastic|excellent|amazing|wonderful} works guys I’ve
{incorporated|added|included} you guys to {|my|our|my personal|my own} blogroll.|
{Howdy|Hi there|Hey there|Hi|Hello|Hey} would
you mind {stating|sharing} which blog platform you’re {working with|using}?
I’m {looking|planning|going} to start my
own blog {in the near future|soon} but I’m having a {tough|difficult|hard} time
{making a decision|selecting|choosing|deciding} between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
The reason I ask is because your {design and style|design|layout} seems different then most
blogs and I’m looking for something {completely unique|unique}.
P.S {My apologies|Apologies|Sorry} for {getting|being} off-topic
but I had to ask!|
{Howdy|Hi there|Hi|Hey there|Hello|Hey} would you
mind letting me know which {webhost|hosting company|web host} you’re {utilizing|working with|using}?
I’ve loaded your blog in 3 {completely different|different} {internet browsers|web browsers|browsers} and I must say this blog loads a lot {quicker|faster} then
most. Can you {suggest|recommend} a good {internet hosting|web hosting|hosting} provider at
a {honest|reasonable|fair} price? {Thanks a lot|Kudos|Cheers|Thank you|Many thanks|Thanks}, I appreciate it!|
{I love|I really like|I like|Everyone loves} it {when people|when individuals|when folks|whenever people} {come together|get together} and share {opinions|thoughts|views|ideas}.
Great {blog|website|site}, {keep it up|continue the good work|stick with it}!|
Thank you for the {auspicious|good} writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it.

Look advanced to {far|more} added agreeable from you!

{By the way|However}, how {can|could} we communicate?|
{Howdy|Hi there|Hey there|Hello|Hey} just wanted to give you a quick heads up.
The {text|words} in your {content|post|article} seem to be running off the screen in {Ie|Internet explorer|Chrome|Firefox|Safari|Opera}.
I’m not sure if this is a {format|formatting} issue or something to do with {web browser|internet browser|browser}
compatibility but I {thought|figured} I’d post to let you know.
The {style and design|design and style|layout|design}
look great though! Hope you get the {problem|issue} {solved|resolved|fixed} soon.
{Kudos|Cheers|Many thanks|Thanks}|
This is a topic {that is|that’s|which is} {close to|near to} my heart…
{Cheers|Many thanks|Best wishes|Take care|Thank you}! {Where|Exactly where} are your contact details
though?|
It’s very {easy|simple|trouble-free|straightforward|effortless} to find out any {topic|matter} on {net|web} as compared to
{books|textbooks}, as I found this {article|post|piece
of writing|paragraph} at this {website|web site|site|web page}.|
Does your {site|website|blog} have a contact page?
I’m having {a tough time|problems|trouble} locating it but, I’d like to {send|shoot} you an {e-mail|email}.
I’ve got some {creative ideas|recommendations|suggestions|ideas} for your blog you might
be interested in hearing. Either way, great {site|website|blog} and I look forward to seeing it {develop|improve|expand|grow} over time.|
{Hola|Hey there|Hi|Hello|Greetings}! I’ve been {following|reading}
your {site|web site|website|weblog|blog} for {a long time|a while|some time} now
and finally got the {bravery|courage} to go ahead and give you a shout out from
{New Caney|Kingwood|Huffman|Porter|Houston|Dallas|Austin|Lubbock|Humble|Atascocita} {Tx|Texas}!
Just wanted to {tell you|mention|say} keep up the {fantastic|excellent|great|good} {job|work}!|
Greetings from {Idaho|Carolina|Ohio|Colorado|Florida|Los angeles|California}!

I’m {bored to tears|bored to death|bored} at work so I decided to {check out|browse} your {site|website|blog} on my iphone during lunch break.
I {enjoy|really like|love} the {knowledge|info|information} you {present|provide} here and can’t wait
to take a look when I get home. I’m {shocked|amazed|surprised} at how {quick|fast}
your blog loaded on my {mobile|cell phone|phone}
.. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. {Anyhow|Anyways}, {awesome|amazing|very good|superb|good|wonderful|fantastic|excellent|great} {site|blog}!|
Its {like you|such as you} {read|learn} my {mind|thoughts}!
You {seem|appear} {to understand|to know|to grasp} {so much|a lot} {approximately|about} this, {like you|such as you} wrote the {book|e-book|guide|ebook|e book} in it or something.
{I think|I feel|I believe} {that you|that you simply|that you just} {could|can} do with
{some|a few} {%|p.c.|percent} to {force|pressure|drive|power} the message {house|home} {a bit|a little bit}, {however|but} {other than|instead of} that, {this
is|that is} {great|wonderful|fantastic|magnificent|excellent} blog.
{A great|An excellent|A fantastic} read. {I’ll|I will} {definitely|certainly} be
back.|
I visited {multiple|many|several|various} {websites|sites|web sites|web pages|blogs} {but|except|however} the audio {quality|feature}
for audio songs {current|present|existing} at
this {website|web site|site|web page} is {really|actually|in fact|truly|genuinely} {marvelous|wonderful|excellent|fabulous|superb}.|
{Howdy|Hi there|Hi|Hello}, i read your blog {occasionally|from time to time} and i own a similar
one and i was just {wondering|curious} if you get a
lot of spam {comments|responses|feedback|remarks}?
If so how do you {prevent|reduce|stop|protect against} it, any plugin
or anything you can {advise|suggest|recommend}? I
get so much lately it’s driving me {mad|insane|crazy} so any {assistance|help|support} is very much appreciated.|
Greetings! {Very helpful|Very useful} advice {within
this|in this particular} {article|post}! {It is the|It’s
the} little changes {that make|which will make|that produce|that
will make} {the biggest|the largest|the greatest|the most important|the most significant}
changes. {Thanks a lot|Thanks|Many thanks} for sharing!|
{I really|I truly|I seriously|I absolutely} love {your blog|your site|your website}..
{Very nice|Excellent|Pleasant|Great} colors
&amp; theme. Did you {create|develop|make|build} {this website|this site|this web site|this
amazing site} yourself? Please reply back as I’m {looking to|trying to|planning
to|wanting to|hoping to|attempting to} create {my own|my very own|my own personal}
{blog|website|site} and {would like to|want to|would love to} {know|learn|find out} where you got this from or {what the|exactly what the|just what the} theme {is called|is named}.
{Thanks|Many thanks|Thank you|Cheers|Appreciate it|Kudos}!|
{Hi there|Hello there|Howdy}! This {post|article|blog
post} {couldn’t|could not} be written {any better|much better}!
{Reading through|Looking at|Going through|Looking through} this {post|article} reminds me
of my previous roommate! He {always|constantly|continually}
kept {talking about|preaching about} this. {I will|I’ll|I am going to|I most certainly will} {forward|send} {this article|this information|this post} to him.
{Pretty sure|Fairly certain} {he will|he’ll|he’s going to} {have
a good|have a very good|have a great} read. {Thank you for|Thanks for|Many thanks for|I appreciate you for} sharing!|
{Wow|Whoa|Incredible|Amazing}! This blog looks {exactly|just} like
my old one! It’s on a {completely|entirely|totally} different {topic|subject} but it has pretty much the same {layout|page layout} and design.
{Excellent|Wonderful|Great|Outstanding|Superb} choice of colors!|
{There is|There’s} {definately|certainly} {a lot to|a great deal to} {know about|learn about|find out about} this {subject|topic|issue}.
{I like|I love|I really like} {all the|all of the} points
{you made|you’ve made|you have made}.|
{You made|You’ve made|You have made} some {decent|good|really
good} points there. I {looked|checked} {on the internet|on the web|on
the net} {for more info|for more information|to find out more|to
learn more|for additional information} about the issue and found {most individuals|most people} will go along with your views on {this
website|this site|this web site}.|
{Hi|Hello|Hi there|What’s up}, I {log on to|check|read} your
{new stuff|blogs|blog} {regularly|like every week|daily|on a regular basis}.
Your {story-telling|writing|humoristic} style is {awesome|witty},
keep {doing what you’re doing|up the good work|it up}!|
I {simply|just} {could not|couldn’t} {leave|depart|go away} your
{site|web site|website} {prior to|before} suggesting that
I {really|extremely|actually} {enjoyed|loved} {the standard|the usual}
{information|info} {a person|an individual} {supply|provide} {for your|on your|in your|to your} {visitors|guests}?
Is {going to|gonna} be {back|again} {frequently|regularly|incessantly|steadily|ceaselessly|often|continuously} {in
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{I wanted|I needed|I want to|I need to} to thank you
for this {great|excellent|fantastic|wonderful|good|very good} read!!
I {definitely|certainly|absolutely} {enjoyed|loved}
every {little bit of|bit of} it. {I have|I’ve got|I have got} you {bookmarked|book
marked|book-marked|saved as a favorite} {to check out|to look at}
new {stuff you|things you} post…|
{Hi|Hello|Hi there|What’s up}, just wanted to {mention|say|tell you}, I {enjoyed|liked|loved} this {article|post|blog post}.
It was {inspiring|funny|practical|helpful}.

Keep on posting!|
I {{leave|drop|{write|create}} a {comment|leave a response}|drop a {comment|leave a response}|{comment|leave a response}}
{each time|when|whenever} I {appreciate|like|especially enjoy} a {post|article} on a {site|{blog|website}|site|website} or {I have|if I have} something to {add|contribute|valuable to contribute} {to the discussion|to the conversation}.
{It is|Usually it is|Usually it’s|It’s} {a result of|triggered by|caused by} the
{passion|fire|sincerness} {communicated|displayed} in the {post|article} I {read|looked
at|browsed}. And {on|after} this {post|article} Virginia in
Seattle. I {{was|was actually} moved|{was|was actually} excited} enough to {drop|{leave|drop|{write|create}}|post} a
{thought|{comment|{comment|leave a response}a response}} {:-P|:)|;)|;-)|:-)} I {do have|actually do
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{Is it|Could it be} {just|only|simply} me or {do|does it {seem|appear|give the
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or linkedin profile}?|
{Hi there|Hello}, I enjoy reading {all of|through} your {article|post|article
post}. I {like|wanted} to write a little comment to support you.|
I {always|constantly|every time} spent my half an hour to read this {blog|weblog|webpage|website|web site}’s {articles|posts|articles or reviews|content} {everyday|daily|every day|all the time} along
with a {cup|mug} of coffee.|
I {always|for all time|all the time|constantly|every time} emailed this {blog|weblog|webpage|website|web site}
post page to all my {friends|associates|contacts}, {because|since|as|for
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my {friends|links|contacts} will too.|
My {coder|programmer|developer} is trying to {persuade|convince} me to move to .net from PHP.
I have always disliked the idea because of the {expenses|costs}.
But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using {Movable-type|WordPress} on {a number of|a variety of|numerous|several|various} websites for about a year
and am {nervous|anxious|worried|concerned} about switching to another platform.
I have heard {fantastic|very good|excellent|great|good} things about [url redacted by Virginia]

Is there a way I can {transfer|import} all my wordpress {content|posts} into it?
{Any kind of|Any} help would be {really|greatly} appreciated!|
{Hello|Hi|Hello there|Hi there|Howdy|Good day}!
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{Terrific|Great|Wonderful} {article|work}!

{This is|That is} {the type of|the kind of} {information|info} {that are
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for {now not|not|no longer} positioning this {post|submit|publish|put up} {upper|higher}!
Come on over and {talk over with|discuss with|seek advice from|visit|consult with} my {site|web
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I hope to give something back and {help|aid} others
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{Hi|Hello|Hi there|Hello there|Howdy|Greetings}, {I think|I believe|I do
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{I just|I simply|I merely} wanted to {give you a|provide you with a} quick heads up!
{Other than that|Apart from that|Besides that|Aside from that}, {fantastic|wonderful|great|excellent} {blog|website|site}!|
{A person|Someone|Somebody} {necessarily|essentially} {lend a hand|help|assist} to make {seriously|critically|significantly|severely} {articles|posts} {I would|I might|I’d} state.
{This is|That is} the {first|very first} time I frequented your {web page|website page} and
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{Hello|Hi|Hello there|Hi there|Howdy|Good day|Hey there}!
{I just|I simply} {would like to|want to|wish to} {give you a|offer you a}
{huge|big} thumbs up {for the|for your} {great|excellent} {info|information} {you
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{I will be|I’ll be|I am} {coming back to|returning to}
{your blog|your site|your website|your web site} for
more soon.|
I {always|all the time|every time} used to {read|study} {article|post|piece of writing|paragraph} in news papers but now as
I am a user of {internet|web|net} {so|thus|therefore}
from now I am using net for {articles|posts|articles or reviews|content},
thanks to web.|
Your {way|method|means|mode} of {describing|explaining|telling} {everything|all|the whole thing} in this {article|post|piece of writing|paragraph} is
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{can|be able to|be capable of} {easily|without difficulty|effortlessly|simply}
{understand|know|be aware of} it, Thanks a lot.|
{Hi|Hello} there, {I found|I discovered} your {blog|website|web site|site} {by means of|via|by the use of|by way of} Google {at the same time as|whilst|even as|while} {searching for|looking
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{I have|I’ve} bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

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{I’m|I am} {gonna|going to} {watch out|be careful} for brussels.
{I will|I’ll} {appreciate|be grateful} {if you|should you|when you|in the event you|in case you|for those who|if you happen to} {continue|proceed} this {in future}.
{A lot of|Lots of|Many|Numerous} {other folks|folks|other people|people} {will be|shall be|might
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Screw Paint Plus Pairing; let’s look at antiques!

Screw Paint Plus Pairing; let’s look at antiques!

I can’t believe how premature/naive I think it is for AT to recommend that people pick their paint color, just like that, without having gone out and bought new furniture or at least obtained swatches for comparison. I guess I’m a bit of a snob about this process after reading Maria Killam’s book, and also after seeing so many pals of mine throw paint up and later be annoyed by how it reads a totally different color at that large scale. Even professional designers do this! So I will be doing the paint part later, after getting at least swatches if not actually making purchases like sofas/rug/drapes, though I’ll still blog about my paint process at that point.

Style Cure Day 8 is also all about a “pairing,” which I just don’t get. I guess my project is bigger than this, and I find this task kind of vague and half-assed or poorly explained. Perhaps it just isn’t relevant to my space, or perhaps it just feels that way because I’ve already done most of the work/research, and am just waiting for quotes and the physical wellness to go out and act! So instead of thinking about a pairing, I’m going to show you some pictures of the cool bizarre antiques I’ve been unpacking.

My uncle recently passed away, and after his death my cousin shipped seven enormous boxes of family antiques from his estate, at my dad’s request. The boxes also included tons of stuff from his wife, my paternal grandmother who died when I was just five. I had to have my dad over to help me unpack the stuff, because I’m not supposed to be lifting heavy stuff/moving around a lot while I’m in recovery from LameTown. But it’s actually been nice to see him ooh and aah over stuff from his childhood! He’s 80 now, so this is some cool Old South Carolina stuff. I don’t yet know what Dad will keep and what I’ll hang on to, but we’ll see. Behold my favorite few items:

Antique metal horse and wagon toys.
My dad used to play with this horse and wagon set as a kid, and he remembers being admonished about being too rough with them! They’re all painted metal, and they say “MADE IN FRANCE” on them. And that little hat is real leather with a bone clasp for the tie, I think. The front wheel broke off and the horses went rogue, but still.
An antique porcelain bull.
My grandfather had a dairy farm, so I suppose this is thematically appropriate. Way more country than my usual taste in tschotchkes, but he’s adorable, right? This guy is Proper Sheffield English Porcelain, which is funny since you’d think I’d inherit that sort of thing from my English mother’s side of the family instead.
An antique snowshoe for horses.
This thing is a block you put on a horse’s hoof either to help shoe it, or in the snow as an EQUINE SNOWSHOE. Did you know such a thing existed? I did not.
Antiques: an autograph book, a bell, and two irons.
My grandmother’s autograph book from the 20s, full of beautifully-penned florid inscriptions and testaments to her popularity; a brass bell like Roderick on the Line uses; and two tiny but functional irons made of actual iron. I thought about doing the quarter for size comparison thing, but eh. They’re small, trust me.
Vintage china with a turquoise and floral pattern.
In addition to the MANY other china pieces, we got these salad plates and they’re my favorite of the china. The larger-scale floral is less twee and ditsy than more traditional patterns, and of course I love the turquoise banding. They don’t seem to have any matching cups/etc. These aren’t my normal style, but I’ll probably use them for guests from time to time, especially if they end up matching our new living room color scheme!
A mysterious iron and enamel antique footed vessel.
This cast-iron mystery is the most perplexing antique. There’s this inset bit that sets into the decorative frame, and the whole thing feels too small to use as a planter but that’s what I intend to do. My dad doesn’t recognize it. Let me know if you know what it is!

We still have two whole enormous boxes to unload, and by we I mean he since I pretty much sit there on the couch and watch and maybe help with gathering up packing paper that’s in reach. Oh well; I’m getting better at demanding and then accepting help instead of doing physical stuff myself, haha. At this rate I’ll be completely insufferable by the time I’m well enough to bounce around again on my own. Stay tuned!

First Finder cleanup results

First Finder cleanup results

Things I learned:

1) You can just delete all those f-cking .dmg files. Cool! Thanks

2) When I take notes on a detailed phone conversation, event, or podcast recording session, I sure do need to jot down your full name and how I know you. Harry and Michelle, you barely made it through the cracks. (This is especially true when I know people through some social network, since I often think of them as their handle instead of their actual name. Yet I then put their full name in the file name of my note-taking doc. Way to go, Virginia.

3) Boy, do I ever not want your downloadable PDF about anything ever. Suck it up and make me a .mobi/.epub that syncs and clouds and whatever else if you ever want me to read your thing.

4) My cat is well documented.

The Internet ROCKS.

The Internet ROCKS.

I swear, I don’t know what I’d do if we’d never come up with this whole interconnected awesomeness thing.

I re-launched my business earlier this year, which involved picking a new business name. It was incredibly hard to come up with a name I liked that was also what my business needed, and I was so much better at it when I had help from lots of Twitter and ADN friends. People were so generous and pragmatic and willing to share their expertise. Plus, I found a couple great blogs with loads of helpful naming advice. I wasn’t able to shell out for those experts like I hoped to, but they were still incredibly supportive of me, and I know I’d go to them if I had to name a more grown-up company with a proper budget in the future. I learned so much about this entire naming field that I didn’t even know existed when I named my thing this time around. Which is clear, because that name and URL sucked, and they’re much better now. :)

IMG_3978Since the big rename and relaunch, I’ve predictably had many woes getting the technical details of my new website together, not to mention the graphical stuff that just totally loses me. My husband Grant has been my biggest helper in the graphics department, but the amazing Berklee has been a close second. He’s been ever so generous with his time and energy, throwing business card ideas and mockups at me faster than I can download the files. This was the final design*, in case you were wondering, although I plan to change the “consultant” terminology to something that better encapsulates what I actually do. (“Coach” is the closest I’ve got right now.)

Bryan Redeagle of Capsule DX offered to help me with web stuff, and he was so appalled by some of the shoddy code in my former theme that he just full-on wrote me a new one, all custom from scratch and designed to fix exactly the stuff that was frustrating me. He never charged me a penny, because we worked out a special deal, but mostly because he’s fucking awesome and he honestly just wanted to help (and wanted code to shine like all perfectionist programmers do). I can’t thank him enough, or recommend his work loudly enough. I’ve never gotten this level of service out of anyone I’ve hired for any project, except for the amazingly affordable florist at our otherwise overpriced wedding. Most of you who know me know that praise does not come from me unless it is sincerely deserved.

Marie of Code it Pretty has also been a very generous donor of her time and expertise. She already generously writes a blog that just helps people figure out frustrating web crap, and she’s so cool about chiming in when I have something tricky to solve. And oh, remember when I wanted to make that app? Well, it’s still in the works; I’ve had to kind of put it aside in favor of earning money via my main business. But Marie is weighing in about user experience and will probably help with an Android port someday.

Martin and Doug and some other generous folks all piped up wanting to assist me, which is fan-freaking-tastic and also incredibly generous. (Oh, and I never would have gotten in touch with them if it weren’t for Rob Rix by way of The Modern Scientist, who connected things via Twitter, and whom I met via Keith Bradnam whom I originally connected to because of some Marco or some 5by5 thing.) Oh, and I’m totally going to connect with Brandon Wright to make completely different apps down the road, because we just find each other awesome to work with and he reached out to me because of Quit.

Dude, even my ergonomics are improving, not as much as I’d like but still some. Fellow standing desk enthusiasts, from Lex Friedman to Kelly Guimont have chimed in about footwear and other tips for making my home work setup more reasonable, and Twitter-whining about various aspects of it has often produced helpful results. The most helpful thing of all, though, was a visit to the Fully showroom in Portland. I urge you to set up an appointment if you’re near there. Either way, some of the best recommendations  and price quotes I’ve gotten were from them, and of course I discovered them online.

Oh, and you know how I suck at being new to Mac? Well, of course loads of people have helped me out with that. Heck, Paul Holbrook sent me a PayPal contribution towards buying the damn thing because he could tell how badly I needed to switch, and Michael Clifford straight up bought me a license for Moom because he knew it would solve my problems. Oh, and the fantastic Jean MacDonald reached out, helped me get settled with some fantastic software, and has generally been insanely helpful and fun. So all those folks and everyone else I’ve mentioned and then some have just been so full of great links, tips, and advice. Let’s see, what other resources have I fallen in love with online, thanks to Internet connections? Mixergy. Marie Forleo. Heck, even Jenna Marbles inspires me. Laura Roeder. So many more I’m forgetting. But I never would have found any of those sources on my own!

And how did I forge most of these connections? Why, by listening to shows on 5by5 and communicating with that network’s general audience. A huge chunk of my most interesting Twitter following also grew out of me baiting Marco Arment into retweeting something useful or funny or silly or random I posted, and then following every single person who favorited or retweeted whatever that thing was. And you know what? That strategy has put me in touch with some of the coolest Internet pals I’ve met to date. I’ve had great conversations with many a jackal, and I’m also launching a podcast soon with Kai Davis and Chris Zaborowski.

And, of course, Quit. Most people who are bothering to read this know that I’ve called in to that show a good number of times, and that I’ve finally taken my online dating coaching business full time thanks in large part to the nudges I’ve received from Dan Benjamin, and to the inspiration that a number of shows on his network have provided. I continue to seek ways to make it more sustainable thanks to his relentlessly business-minded approach. And, of course, his shows inspired me, but so do the connections I’ve made from listening to them and appearing on them. I even got one (just one so far, but still) paying client who heard me first on Quit! Altogether, the social aspects of the Internet and of 5by5 in particular have skyrocketed my own success and happiness and ability to easily and quickly find affordable and effective solutions to at least 75% of my tech problems on this earth.

Lastly, I made many of these connections happen because of my own output, lest you think it’s ALL just Internet magick [sic]. I made them because I was open to socializing with people and learning new things. I was willing to put myself out there even when exhaustion or shyness or House of Cards would rather prevail. I followed up on leads, wrote things down, Skyped/FaceTimed/GooglePlusHung my little heart out, learned a bunch of new stuff, flared up my tendinitis, lost sleep, called 5by5 and waited on hold for hours, checked my email/DMs/etc., read, wrote, retweeted, subscribed, shook hands, followed back, spent money, and generally put myself out there and followed up on shit. But that effort has been so incredibly rewarding, and SO much easier than it would have been without all this great Internet infrastructure.

So to my friends and family members who don’t get why the Internet is so important to me and why I sometimes can’t stop checking my iPhone, well, you’ll probably never read this anyway so never fucking mind. But the Internet rocks. :)

 

 

 

*Special Business Card Footnote: Futura on the front, since I know .05 people are going to ask, and a weirdly condensed Franklin Gothic Medium on the back logo. Vistaprint; wouldn’t use ’em again; saving up for proper letterpressing but first things first financially, thanks Dan. Going with a press guy in Chicago who can paint the edges red too because OMG sexy. Curt Stevens of Lithocraft if you need ANYTHING printed in Seattle; tell him I sent you. Avoid Allegra Graphics in Greenwood no matter how good a deal you thin you’re getting; you’re welcome.

Back the f*ck out of Marco Arment’s finances

Back the f*ck out of Marco Arment’s finances

This is one of those TL;DR scenarios. I’ll do my best to sum it up quickly.

Yahoo bought Tumblr for a boatload of money.

-Marco Arment used to work for Tumblr; he weighs in on the acquisition in depth and eloquence, with a small passing mention of gratitude for the generosity of his former employer and the deliberately vague and modest description of a decent safety net if he’s prudent with how he manages his finances. And I quote (emphasis mine):

As for me, while I wasn’t a “founder” financially, David was generous with my employee stock options back in the day. I won’t make yacht-and-helicopter money from the acquisition, and I won’t be switching to dedicated day and night iPhones. But as long as I manage investments properly and don’t spend recklessly, Tumblr has given my family a strong safety net and given me the freedom to work on whatever I want. And that’s exactly what I plan to do.

-Anil Dash, whose technical background is questionable to some*, was pissy about something else and in response to that flippantly tweeted this snotty message to Marco, with vaguely racially-loaded tones:

EDITED: Apparently, Anil’s dick tweet wasn’t specifically in response to Marco’s financial mention, like I originally thought it was. But that’s how I misinterpreted it, because Twitter. Regardless, the following rant remains valid to me, because attacking Marco’s finances, even as a tangent in response to some other beef, is a shitty and immature thing to do. Thanks for the correction, Tweeps.

Marco got understandably annoyed with Anil’s tweet, and flamed him a bit, with other members of the tech community chiming in.

I was bothered by Anil’s tweet too, because I’ve been paying attention to Marco’s adventures since I first heard of Instapaper and Build & Analyze. So I tweeted up a storm, and a Twitter buddy asked me to blog it (probably in jest, but I did) so here you go:

Why am I so up in arms about the finances of some software developer across the country? Because this shit is PRIVATE, people. The fact that Marco has EVER mentioned ANYTHING related to ANY of his finances on ANY of his projects is a GENEROUS GESTURE on his part, because he clearly takes some stupid shit for it. We really are like paparazzi in this weird little nerd world, and it’s uncomfortable to share figures and income. Heck, when my husband and I bought our home in 2011, I was incredibly uncomfortable with the questions some friends posed, and the fact that plenty of them raced off to Zillow or Redfin to look up the exact purchase price.

There is SO MUCH context to any financial aspect of anyone’s lives. You don’t know how much we had saved up, how much we were loaned or gifted, how long we scrimped, how many dollars in closing costs or repairs we were awarded in that one little transaction, or how long we’ll have to wait before we feel comfortable booking air travel that isn’t with rewards miles, or how scary it was for me to part with an Amazon income to try out my own venture, or how often home cost paranoia keeps me up at night, or what a pain in the ass the entire process is. That misguidedly public transaction record is none of your goddamned business, and neither are the details of Marco Arment’s stock deal from a company he worked at four years ago.

So please, everyone. Appreciate that we get ANYTHING more than a canned “No comment” response from this young, smart, talented guy who’s bombarded with inappropriate and deeply personal questions as if he owed entitled jackal world an answer. Just back the fuck off, go focus on doing your own awesome work, and appreciate that Marco has offered up ANY insight into what you might aspire to or expect or be able to pull off if you spent your time focusing on your own accomplishments. Sheesh! ;)

*Anil’s tech expertise level is not my business to explore, nor does it interest me much. But I assume he’s more technical than me based on his self-identity as such, even though I’ve worked at/on and been recruited by some pretty fucking major software companies and projects myself. I’m not trying to brag here; I’m saying I’ve had quite a bit of first-hand experience within the tech world on paper, but I don’t consider myself an authority on projects with which I had absolutely no involvement. So regardless of how technical Anil is, he too should shut the fuck up sometimes and focus on his own shit more, in my not remotely humble opinion. OK I promise I’m done yelling at everyone now!

I suck at Photoshop

I suck at Photoshop

I’m trying to learn to become more independent in graphic design. I’m not remotely trained in any way. I’ve got an increasingly defined sense of design, although I’m just as susceptible to trends as the next blogger who suddenly decided that rounded corners were over yesterday. I finally got a copy of CS6 of my very own, but with no training or experience whatsoever, I of course suck at using it. And I’m constantly paralyzed by that. And since Grant is the one who’s been doing most of my image editing up until like right now, he’s the only one with access to the .psd versions of anything at all.

Beyond sucking at the actual tools, and not having assets, I’m just kind of clueless and/or thoughtless about the actual content I want to create. Sometimes I build things dumb or ugly just to not have to rebuild an entire other thing, you know? I understand this to be a common problem in software development; it certainly was in the game companies I’ve worked at. No one eeeeever designs the UI to be big enough for German terms, for example! Take that sidebar, to the left. The text “my day job” is not an effective or eye-catching way to link out to what I actually do in my online dating consulting business. This is a really, really important part of my identity; I’m trying to do it full time after leaving Big Tech and it’s scary and I’m broke and I’d like to generate more traffic and more paying clients. So you’d think I’d want to really make that stand out, right? But my stupid, stubborn sense of aesthetics dictates that everything in that sidebar (custom built by Grant, and tweaked with some help from John Hardman) should be the exact same height/font size and roughly the same width. So instead of rebuilding the sidebar to allow for some different copy, or reworking it so that all of the link-images were larger and could contain more text, I just came up with “my day job” placeholder and asked Grant to tweak it into place and now it’s stupid and doesn’t tell you to please go hire me for the fascinating weird thing I actually charge money for. Sure, you can get there if you’re curious enough to click, but I don’t trust you! :)

Anyway. I got this new Mac recently too, and am sitting on a post about my process adjusting to Mac after fifteen years of PC. I got this idea to make an iPhone app and I’m sitting on the process of really figuring out how I want it to work and learning enough fragmented bits of how to program to understand how to formulate reasonable requests to the very kind folks who have expressed an interest in helping me make something functional. And I got a copy of Photoshop and I have no idea how to use it. Sometimes I just feel so stuck by all the things I’d like to learn more about and can’t justify taking the time to learn more about, ya know? Not that I’m always using my time well (self-subtweet to this blog post) but I feel guilting spending money and time on a Lynda course when I should be doing more things to generate Heartographer leads.

I’ll get there; don’t worry. And I’ll come up with something catchier than “my day job” eventually. Maybe you can help—what do you think I should put there to drive people to The Heartographer? (Oh, and I turned off comments à la Marco and John but I’m not coding-savvy enough to know how to hack my custom theme to turn them on for certain posts only, so I guess you’ll have to tweet/FB/App me your response. Which you were probably going to do anyway, because it’s 2013, right? (But I still get blog comments on my other blogs sometimes, and I LOVE THEM when they happen and aren’t spam or dicks. So maybe I’ll go back.)

You thought this whole rambling post was going somewhere, didn’t ya? GOTCHA!

Oh wait, I was going to post something. This is some of my incredibly unprofessional art-attempts that I’ve made in my pre-Photoshop days whenever I needed content for a blog post or an ad campaign and didn’t know diddley about image editing or computer drawing or anything like that and I just needed to GO already. I think my Shlok Crest inspired me to at least feel semi-competent at creating stupid little doodles that other people might find amusing, and it was just so much easier than trying to learn an entirely unfamiliar software program to get something simple out the door. Sometimes you just have to ship it instead of really making it great, you know? Which I hate. Anyway. Enjoy!

Questioning Kitty
I believe this is the one I used in my Facebook campaign, because I am a professional. I believe the copy was something like “Is your cat worried about you? It might be time to start dating again.” I don’t fucking know. It helped me break 100 Likes which was the douchey goal from a friend who’s a marketing consultant. Yay confused felines?
Happy Birds
This was a part of the one we used for my Stranger (local alt weekly) ad. The birds are supposed to make you jealous, I guess? I drew it with ballpoint pen on paper and Grant scanned it and futzed with it in Illustrator, I think.
Sad Bird
The sad bird represents you, single person who wants to pay me money to help you find love online. Also for the Stranger ad.
"Copy This Bird" - that's all I have in my notes
This bird was an early attempt. You can see me experimenting with avian eyebrows. I have no idea what I’m doing. Pretty sure this was in MS Paint, and I tried to make the body out of smart shapes. Bad call. You can totally tell where “circle” ends, huh?
Lovelorn Kitty
This was an earlier attempt at a kitty for the FB ad. I’m partial to him even though I’m not sure why his face is curly and his body hair is straight. Also not sure why he’s a he, nor why he lacks whiskers. Life is full of mysteries. I did this on Paper on the iPad I think, just the free pen setting.
Another Lovelorn Kitty
Another lovelorn kitty for FB attempt. Sorry for the failure to crop, but this is just gonna get slapped in here all speedy-like. He didn’t look sad or confused enough.
Concerned kitty
This cat is concerned about your love life. This is more the direction I was going in, and I like the colors, but after I did this guy I realized the dimensions were off for Facebook’s very rigid specs.

Anyway, there you have it. I have no idea what I’m doing but these were kind of fun and I didn’t have to buy anything, pay anyone, or violate copyright. Yay.

Old school marketing

Old school marketing

We order pizza kind of a lot. We shouldn’t, but we do; it’s easy and  yummy and one of the few delivery options we have at our house. We usually get Pagliacci, because it’s delicious and predictable and they have great customer service and even a few healthy options. But every once in a while, we like to switch it up and try ordering from different pizza places, just to see if there’s anything better we’ve been missing.

The other non-chainy pizza joint that delivers to us is called Stacia’s. Stacia’s is quite expensive, but they offer deep discoiunts with ValPak coupons. Now, I hate coupons, and I especially hate unsolicited envelopes full of small pieces of paper. (I grew up a Washington State Hippie when it comes to recycling.) But I get that some older-school businesses firmly believe in the whole direct mail marketing model. And ValPak now has an iPhone and iPad app with mobile coupons, so that helps a ton. Often not every deal is listed there that would appear on a print coupon, but this is a nice little compromise for a nerd like me.

I just fired up the ValPak app, and not only does it have deals for Stacia’s, but it also has a neat little feature where you can export a specific deal to Passbook. It’s a bit cumbersome (and hitchy and takes forever even on a solid Wi-Fi connection), but it’s nice of them to think of that, and I like to think it could minimize annoyance for both customers and businesses, right? Right. Except no. I clicked on the “Disclaimers” link just to double-check, and lookie here:

IMG_3578[1]
Sooo, uh, mobile coupons are great according to ValPak, but not necessarily ValPak’s advertisers. Fine. Maybe they’re just extra-careful with these because some customers abuse them? (It’s worth noting that I’ve totally used the mobile ValPak app before to buy pizza from these guys. Maybe I’M the reason they added this fun little disclaimer.)

I called the place up, and asked about this disclaimer. The guy who picked up was extremely befuddled. He said, and I quote, “You can’t just print it out?”

I suppose I could print out the QR code, in theory, but I’m not gonna. A) Our printer keeps conking out from expensive low ink reserves, and I don’t want to futz with it for half an hour to make sure it’s working only to deplete its ink for this. B) I shouldn’t freaking have to, right? The whole point of tha ValPak APP is that it’s mobile, paperless, painless, and your delivery dude even gets a little Passbook QR code to scan. Why print? And C) the guy was kind of a dick about it, so now I really don’t want to comply with his backwards request; I want to muster up the gentleness to coax him into letting me use the goddamn iPhone coupon because it’s 2013.

I explain that our printer isn’t working, that we’ve used mobile coupons before and haven’t ordered in several months (i.e. I’m not taking advantage of some high-tech loophole every night), and that I don’t think printing it out is how this is meant to work. This last bit clearly wasn’t the right tack. He immediately switches to Confusion Masked by Authoritative Dismissive Voice, and says, “Yeah, we don’t do that phone stuff. Paper coupon only.”

Sigh. “That phone stuff.” Why build the tech, why integrate the feature, if business owners are too old-school to learn how to play nice with the new tools? Can’t ValPak train businesses to figure this out? Is there no Unique Pizza Discount Code number I could read to you to have you write down and check against some database (undoubtedly stored in a three-ring binder) so you know I’m not allowed to claim this deal a second time, just as if I’d handed you a piece of paper? Must you charge so much in your base menu that I’m unwilling to conduct any kind of transaction with you unless I have a valid coupon to bring the whole deal down to a reasonable range?

I thanked him lamely, hung up, and ordered dinner from Pagliacci.

I want to make an app.

I want to make an app.

I’ve wanted to make an iPhone app for ages now, but it’s always been a far-off “when I have the time and energy to learn how to code” thing. Recently, I realized that I have an urgently needed app in mind that’s based on Siracusa’s Annoyance-driven development: All the existing apps in this space are ugly and unstable, and all of them lack certain core features. I recently realized that I can either keep saying I’d like to make this app well into my forties, by which time I probably still won’t have managed to teach myself enough coding to pull it off, or I can feel out the developer community and see if anyone is interested in helping out on the coding end while I tackle art, production, marketing, QA, et cetera.

I want to make a calendar that tracks women’s health and reproductive cycles. I know, boring, but stay with me. ALL of the apps in that space are so ugly it makes me want to cry.

 

As you can see, these apps are almost exclusively pink or lilac or -maybe- some other pastel shade. They’re 80% flower-driven design (because I’m a delicate flower? F-ck off. Because when I got my period I flowered as a woman? Also f-ck off. Because this whole bleeding inconveniently every month is all a beautiful part of nature, therefore look at this flower? Shut up and f-ck off. Because women run around in a field in Massengil commercials? Go douche yourself and then f-ck off). Ahem. I don’t care for the look. I’m betting that most men and women who read this post will agree with me, even if they wouldn’t have used quite as many F-bombs to make the point.

Colors and motifs aside, these apps have stretched UI elements and horrible fonts and weirdly low contrast text and some of  the worst textures/skeuomorphic design choices that make Podcasts.app look like a home run. They have no idea what “retina” means. And they all seem to be made by men who don’t understand what features and design choices makes this type of app useful and appealing to women.

Marco Arment noticed this dearth of decent design when he and his wife had their baby boy Adam, so he created a breastfeeding timer app with laudably simple design. When he first released this app, he mentioned that similar pregnancy-related stuff, like baby naming apps, were just appalling. That hasn’t changed yet. His beautiful, clean, simple, and functional design eventually inspired me to try to apply the same principles to a cycle-tracking app.

Aside from design complaints, there are also functionality problems in this category. These apps crash constantly. They have  no calendar integration and no ability to export data to iCal or other common calendar formats, and no helpful push messaging options*. They require you to input made-up guesstimates or to configure data that you probably don’t have if you need a cycle-tracking app. They generally exist in a freemium model, but the freemium apps are so bad and the features described in the paid versions so pointless, that I’ve never been inspired to shell out for a “premium” version. (Neither has any woman I’ve ever met.)

Furthermore, why does anyone bother tracking their cycle in the first place? Besides knowing when your period will arrive, there are two basic things such an app should be able to help you do:

  1. Get pregnant.
  2. NOT get pregnant.

Guess which feature is missing from every single app I’ve tested? That’s right: none of them help track your cycle to avoid making a baby. Read that over again. Of every single app I’ve ever tested (and I’ve been searching for a good fit ever since the iOS App Store came into existence), NONE of them are designed to help you avoid an unwanted pregnancy. There are tons of ways to optimize becoming pregnant, with varying windows of optimal conception, but all you can do is aggregate said data and attempt to extract a reasonable “safe” window. Heck, there’s even an app that lets you select a desired birth date or Zodiac sign, and back-calculate an ideal window of conception (!!), yet there is no choice that teaches women how to avoid having sex when they might be likely to get unintentionally pregnant. The rhythm method (as it’s called) is a valid primary or secondary birth control method for so many people, but you wouldn’t know it from the iOS marketplace.

So, I want to create an app that includes both let’s-make-a-baby and let’s-not-make-a-baby modes. I want something that integrates with iCal and ideally Google Cal (or vcal), or any other calendar that the iPhone community might suggest. I want logical, configurable push notifications to shove some tampons in my purse, or that I should start using condoms to avoid unwanted pregnancies for the next X days. I want a non-embarrassing reminder that I’m probably ovulating and should go jump my husband even if he’s in the middle of a complicated Tomb Raider level. (Er, for example.) I want a clean, non-condescending design that my husband wouldn’t mind having on his own phone, in case he felt like picking up tampons or jumping me in the middle of a complicated blog post. And most of all, I want everything to just WORK. (And if there are useful features that I’m not thinking of or that come to my attention over time, I’d like the app built on a framework that lets me layer in new features.)

It’s a long shot that any developers out there would want to take time out of their busy profitable coding endeavors to help fill this marketplace void by coding such an app. But if I can talk you into helping on the coding end, I’ll do literally everything else and will of course share revenue on the app. And heck, if I get a positive response to this, maybe I’ll start investigating crowd-sourcing the development of this app, so I can really get excellent design and programming without feeling like I need to learn three new careers of my own to pull it off.  I may also circle back to the realization that I have to do every aspect myself, including programming, and that’s OK too. I know there are more and more resources available to teach me, and that most developers aren’t wild about the idea of a revenue-sharing model since they’re just as stretched thin as I am. But I’m kinda supposed to be writing a book and growing my business and generally earning money via other time-consuming channels, and therefore this app probably isn’t going to happen in the immediate future if it remains a one-woman project. So if you think you might know someone who would want to connect, please put us in touch!

 

*To be fair, one app recently added a push notification option for tampons. However, it can’t be adjusted or configured to read custom text or to notify at a different time than the app’s auto-calculated choice, and you can’t export any such reminder to useful places like Reminders/Calendar/Mail, let alone OmniFocus, Drafts, Evernote, etc.

Shlok it up

Shlok it up

I’ve continued listening to QUIT!, and it keeps helping me as I delve into my business relaunch. I called in again to Episode 9, and I listen eagerly every week.

Last week, on Episode 10, Dan was talking to Shlok Vaidya about his emerging after holing up to write his book, and they made a crack that it was like a phoenix rising from the ashes. In fact, I believe these were the exact words:

“…a really big, masculine phoenix, with huge guns.”

I couldn’t get that phrase out of my head, so I kinda make him a crest. I wish I were savvy enough with any software to have made this on a computer, but there ya have it. old-fashioned pen and pencil (and yes, hilighter).

IMG_3243

It’s pretty clear from this that a) I’m not an artist, b) I was limited to basic office supplies, and c) I’ve never seen a gun in real life. Anyway, Shloky, you have free reign to use this on your online dating profile if you’d like! ♥